Phnom Penh: Than Quang Ninh’s Nguyen Hai Huy has set his sights on three points as the Vietnamese side prepare to take on Cambodian champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng in Group G of the 2020 AFC Cup on Wednesday.
Midfielder Hai Huy was on the scoresheet as the V.League 1 team claimed an impressive 2-2 away draw against the Philippines’ Ceres Negros two weeks ago to pick up their first point of the campaign.
Svay Rieng, meanwhile, produced arguably the shock of the tournament so far when they beat Indonesian champions Bali United 2-1, and a second successive victory at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium would open up a five-point gap between them and Than Quang Ninh.
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“Our draw with Ceres Negros has given us a good base for the matches ahead and will give us a greater chances of qualifying [for the next round],” said Hai Huy.
“Svay Rieng achieved a really good result against Bali and they are a very strong, technical side, so we will have to work hard to counter their strengths.
“Playing away is never easy so we need to give it everything we have, but if we can be at our best I think everything we can achieve a good result.”
The game in the Cambodian capital will mark Than Quang Ninh’s third successive match on the road, with the Vietnamese sides in the AFC Cup playing their first three fixtures outside their homeland due to the Covid-19 situation.
Phan Thanh Hung’s side got off to the worst possible start to their campaign as Jamaican forward Andre Fagan was sent off inside five minutes against Bali before – after taking the lead – they ultimately lost 4-1.
But the draw in the Philippines was they perfect response to their opening-day disappointment and another positive result on Wednesday would stand them in good stead at the midway stage with three home games to follow.
“In both of the games so far we’ve played well, but against Bali we were unlucky as we were down to 10 men so early,” noted Hai Huy.
“Then, against Ceres, all the players performed well and we got a good point. Our goal for the next game is to get all three points so we can stay in touch with the top teams in the group.”
Having begun his football journey in Than Quang Ninh’s youth set-up, Hai Huy is a one-club man who has made well over 200 appearances for the team.
The 28-year-old was part of the side that debuted in the AFC Cup in 2017 and got on the scoresheet in their only victory to date when they ran out 3-0 winners away at Myanmar’s Yadanarbon.
While that campaign ended in group stage elimination, Hai Huy remains hopeful that they can go one better this time round.
“I have been here since I was a kid and I love this club,” added Hai Huy, whose side finished third in the 2019 V.League.
“To finish so high in the league last season was great as it gave us the chance to experience the AFC Cup again. My aim now is to help Than Quang Ninh do well here and I hope we can progress in the competition.”
Photos: Than Quang Ninh
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